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In May 2007, the European Union and South Korea started negotiating a bilateral free trade agreement. It took effect on 1 July 2011.

This deal is part of the EU’s post-2006 "Global Europe" strategy to boost the competitiveness of EU corporations in the world by securing deeper commitments to neoliberal policies from trading partners, including expanded rights for European transnationals. In Korea, the European Union is trying to win equal, if not better, footing against US firms after the conclusion of the US-Korea FTA. (The EU makes stronger demands than the US on Korea in the areas of intellectual property, services, competition policy and environmental standards.)

Social movements from both sides mobilised against the deal’s potential impacts. One flashpoint of concern is for Korea’s agricultural sector, where pig farmers in particular are expected to suffer from an influx of subsidised EU pork as a result of this deal.

last update: May 2012
photo: European External Action Service - EEAS/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

S. Korea seeks breakthrough in free trade talks with EU
South Korea’s chief negotiator in free trade talks with the European Union (EU) said on Monday that Seoul will redouble its efforts to make a breakthrough on some sticky issues, including a dispute over auto trade, and called for an "equal" effort from Brussels.
South Korea aims to retain agriculture tariffs at EU FTA talks
The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry said that rice will be exempted from free trade agreement talks altogether, while Seoul will stress the need to hold onto some protection for grain, vegetables and fruits.
Korea to sweeten offer at next EU FTA talks
Korea plans to accept a number of the European Union’s demands for lifting tariffs on EU goods in the fifth round of the Korea-EU free trade agreement talks slated for Nov. 19 in Brussels
Korea seeks speedy free trade pact with EU
Korea’s top negotiator to trade talks with the EU wants a deal to be concluded by year’s end.
Activists urge govt to stop unfair trade deal with EU
Activists held protests Friday and urged the South Korean government to stop "unfair" trade deals with the European Union, as the fourth round of talks on a free trade agreement (FTA) between South Korea and the EU was due to end in Seoul.
EU says SKorea must do more for trade deal
The European Union on Friday said it was disappointed with South Korea’s offer in talks on a free-trade agreement.
EU shuns discussion on NKorea enclave at trade talks
The European Union has shunned discussions on South Korea’s proposal to include a North Korean industrial park in their proposed free trade agreement (FTA), officials said. Meanwhile, European businesses have warned their leaders not to play politics with trade and exclude the park from any trade agreement with Seoul.
One man protests against FTA agreement
A farmer carries a model pig during his one-man protest in front of the hotel where South Korean-EU free trade talks are being held in Seoul
Korea, EU open 4th round of free trade talks
The EU is demanding that Korea match reductions on beef and car-import tariffs that it granted the US in June.
This is the way some agreements should end
Elaborate funeral rituals were performed in central Brussels over the past week to show how a planned free trade accord between the European Union and the Korean government should, in the view of anti-poverty campaigners, be buried.


  • EU-Korea FTA SIA
    The EU-Korea FTA Trade Sustainability Impact Assessment (SIA) is intended to produce studies in order to provide a deeper understanding of the sustainability impacts of the trade and investment aspects of the Free Trade Agreement and of the mechanisms through which they might affect both the EU and Korea.